Chicago Papers In City News Rack Compromise p.11

By: Mark Fitzgerald Publishers to drop lawsuit

In a compromise with City Hall, Chicago's biggest dailies and free newspapers agreed to experiment with a few multiple-title news racks.
After weeks of furious law-making and lawsuit-filing ? and under strong pressure for compromise from U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo ?lawyers for both sides told Castillo June 2 that they are ready to drop litigation in favor of a revised pilot program for news racks.
The newspapers ? the Chicago Sun-Times; Chicago Tribune; the alternative Chicago Reader and New City; and the African-American free paper N'Digo ? filed suit May 12 to throw out a new Chicago ordinance that would have replaced 560 individual news racks located in the busiest downtown intersections with 60 multiple-title racks built by JC Decaux, the French "street furniture" supplier. (E&P, May 16, 1998, pp. 14-15)
Details of the compromise remain to be worked out and lawyers, for the city and the papers refused to describe the new plan extensively.
Nevertheless, the broad outlines of the experiment suggest the newspapers won some rounds in fighting City Hall. Newspapers will be represented on a group formed to advise on the location of the racks and will help evaluate the experiment.
"There will be a smaller number of news racks removed, there will be an appropriate number of locations [for news racks] and the pilot program has been reduced from a year to six months," said Mark Hornung, vice president of circulation for the Sun-Times, which organized the lawsuit.
It was not clear how space would be allocated in the multiple-paper racks. Alternative and ethnic papers complained the design of the racks would hamper their distribution. Lawyers for the Reader, the big alternative paper, and New City declined to comment on the effects of the settlement.
Hornung said his aim from the start was to "build consensus" among all newspapers involved.
In court, city lawyers said they had agreed not to start the pilot program until at least July 1, and they suggested the ordinance will be rewritten to reflect the settlement.
Multiple-title racks have been discussed since the beginning of the year. But newspaper officials said the city suddenly presented a non-negotiable ordinance in late April, saying Mayor Richard M. Daley wanted the new racks in time for a Memorial Day convention of travel agents and writers.
"The city pushed ? and we pushed back," the Sun-Times' Hornung said.DATE:
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